Most of my friends will already know, but some members on here who I've met over the years won't have heard and one or two have since been in touch as the word filtered round.
Last month I had to put Whisky, my Hanoverien Scenthound to sleep. After a superb roebuck season with guests, and a fair number of lost and recovered deer, late in May she developed an incurable intestinal/stomach disorder, whereby she couldn't process and use the protein in her food. This resulted in a build-up of fluid in her abdomen and a severe loss of weight due basically to a leaking intestine. At first she was put on a course of steroids after the blood tests confirmed the vets diagnosis. The condition can be managed to a degree with a special diet and the drugs, but all it basically does is stay off the inevitable.
There is no suffering or pain, just a loss of condition and muscle bulk. It was heartbreaking to see a dog in her prime drop from 29kg to 22kg in under 3 months. She tried to carry on doing all the things she normally would right up to the end before I decided that her quality of life was not to be allowed to slip any further.
I've never had a dog like her, in every sense of the word, in temperament, looks, character and her ability to constantly teach me something new about tracking deer. She worked with me every day I was out stalking since she was 9 months old. A true partnership which has left me feeling like I've lost my right arm. She would have been 4 last month.
The above photo was taken when out stalking Sika stags a couple of years ago. I struggled to get her to look at the camera as she could smell deer in the woods behind her and she kept lifting her nose into the wind to indicate them to me. It's this image I will remember her by.